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<< Sports >>

AmericaJR.com Sports Column

Michigan would need to win tourney to make it to dance; likely headed to NIT again

by Andrew Poloni
poloni@americajr.com

It looks like it will be another year in NIT tournament postseason purgatory for the Michigan Wolverines men’s hoops team.

The Wolverines blew what was probably their best shot at getting into the NCAA tournament last Saturday when they let a late game lead slip and lost at home to the Ohio State Buckeyes.

Technically, it may still be too early to count Michigan out. They could still win the Big Ten Tournament this weekend and earn an automatic bid in the NCAA tournament.

This is, however, the same tournament that will be featuring Ohio State and Wisconsin - two teams that each defeated Michigan twice in the regular season.

It would be unfair to say that Michigan has zero chance of winning. Far greater upsets have occurred. The U.S. beat the Soviets in 1980. The Red Sox came back from being down three games to none against the Yankees in 2004.

It’s probably safe to say this won’t be one of those magical years for the Wolverines though.

Michigan, the eight seed in the tournament, tips-off Thursday at noon against the Minnesota Golden Gophers, the nine seed. The Gophers bring in a disappointing 9-21 record.

On paper, the Wolverines should have no trouble getting past Minnesota and on to the second round of the tourney. If they do, however, they will be looking at yet another match-up with number one ranked Ohio State.

Michigan, in all likelihood, would have to win the Big Ten tournament to get into the big dance. Getting past Ohio State and Wisconsin just doesn’t seem to be in the cards for this team.

The Wolverines had their chances at both teams in the regular season with an opportunity to prove to the tournament selection committee that they could win a big game.

Michigan’s biggest win was only against interstate rival Michigan State - a team that has been unranked for much of the season.

They just don’t have the resume to put themselves in the NCAA tournament. Coach Tommy Amaker and the boys will be headed back to the place that by now has probably become familiar to them - the NIT tournament.

Return to our NBA / NCAA Basketball section.

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